Craft beer Bogotá: Chelarte, easy drinking, even easier to order!

Keep your fridge well stocked even if you’re not going out, as craft beer pioneers Chelarte continue to offer an excellent domicilio service.

Chelarte

One of Bogotá’s best-known craft breweries is Chelarte, which up until the pandemic hit, had its own bar just off Parque 93, in the city’s north. Camilo Rojas discovered his love of beer when he went on exchange to Germany in 2005, although it wasn’t until he took a fermentation class as part of his Chemical Engineering and Microbiology degree at Los Andes that he found his calling in craft brewing. He then took inspiration from a book by the President of American brewery Dogfish, Sam Calagione. That drew American style craft beers to his attention, but he had to rely on his States-based sister to bring him hops, yeast and even IPAs so he could see what they actually tasted like!

Read our guide to craft beer in Bogotá as we keep adding to it

Camilo then started putting on parties to see how his beers fared. At one of those, he met Andrés Correal, now his business partner, who was importing German beers at the time. They properly got started in 2012 and immediately discovered the struggle they faced. As Camilo tells it, ‘People saw beer as red, blonde, black.’ He hated this attitude to beer and wanted to do something different. So he put names on all their beers to give them a more personal feel – ‘you call people by their names.’ To find the names, Camilo and Andrés looked back through the history of brewing, all the way to Ancient Egypt, and found that up until very recently, beer brewing was historically the domain of women.

The beers

There are now six ladies who find themselves featured on Chelarte’s bottles: Pamela, Raquel, Carmela, Zenaida, Naari and Débora. Respectively, that’s a Summer Ale, Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout, IPA and Double IPA that Chelarte currently brew on a regular basis.

IIPA

Camilo likes his IPAs to be easy-drinking and lower than most on bittering hops. Débora is exactly that in double-IPA terms (translation: malty and fruity, full of citrusy flavour). Packed full of Mosaic, Columbus and El Dorado hops, she’s very tropical, with a hint of pine and peach coming through on the nose. Débora on the bottle has tatts all down her arms and Camilo describes her as ‘a bit crass and rebellious’. He chose her name because it sounds like ‘devour’ in Spanish and because just like the beer, it’s ‘different, strong and stands out’. As with any well-crafted Double IPA, her 8% abv doesn’t leave its mark on the taste.

How to get ‘em

The best way to get these beers is by contacting the brewery through WhatsApp, on 310 561 2862. Otherwise, go to their website.

Chelarte have made a concerted effort to keep as many of their bar employees on staff, so they’re now doing most of the deliveries until there’s a physical bar to drink in again.

The four original beers (Pamela, Raquel, Carmela and Zenaida) are $5,500 a pop, while Naari and Débora will set you back $8,900 and $10,500 each, respectively.

There’s a $20,000 minimum order and delivery is free if you find yourself within 5km of their bodega on Calle 77 and Av Caracas. Otherwise it’ll vary depending on how far away you are. They try their best to do same-day deliveries whenever possible.

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